From CAD Standard to Quality Assurance Document

November 30th, 2010

So you have a CAD Standard and you think it is fairly good. Still, it doesn't seem to motivate users toward compliance. They have copies of the standard and they have read them. You have held training classes and spent a good amount of time trying to get them to understand not only the "what" of the standard but also the "why."

Yet there projects that do not comply and users who ignore the standard. I believe you will always have some that either refuse or don't understand (or just don't care), but that should be the minority. So how do you enforce a CAD standard? How do you verify compliance? Is it just a gut feeling or do you have some way to measure the compliance of your files?

Moving from standard to QA doc

Making a document and a procedure for checking CAD files will assist in getting your firm to think about what it means to strive for quality in their output. One way to do this is use your standard as a guideline for creating a QA checklist.

So take your standard in hand and let's have a go at it. We will take one section and use it as an example.

Here is what your CAD standard might say:

CAD Standard for Text

Text sizes, styles, placement, and fonts are critical to communicating the correct information on your drawing files. The following will be used on all projects.

The Standard Text Size shall be 3/32". All text shall be UPPERCASE. G-ANNO is the general layer for all text. The color shall be 7.

All text shall use the font "ROMANS" or "ROMAND" where a bold font is desired. All general text shall be a plotted height of 3/32" (equivalent to 10 point), which reproduces and reduces well on today's printers, plotters, scanners, faxes, and photocopiers.

Some True Type fonts are allowed, but only those that are defined in this standard. The ARIAL font shall be used for the Sheet No. in the Title Block as this font best differentiates between a number 1 and the letter I and will ease the possible confusion between the Discipline Designator for "Interiors" and the number 1. The Sheet number text that is created shall be 3/8".

Some fonts will not display if used on a machine that does not have those fonts installed. Therefore, all custom fonts used in client logos shall be "drawn" and then a "block" created from the elements. This would apply to custom logos/names and signage details for example. The intent here is to insure that all parties receiving electronic files need not load any additional fonts.

Text heights for Titles shall be 1/4" with a ROMAND font. Text height for Matchline text shall be 3/16".

All Text Styles shall define font with a Height of 0, a Width Factor of .80 and an Oblique Angle of 0.

Text color/pen widths for each text height will be determined based on Standard Pen Table and Layer Names, etc.

TEXTFILL variable should be set to "ON."

You can see that more details are provided in the CAD standard that do not lend themselves to being in a quick checklist.

Here is what the QA checklist will say:

QA Checklist for Text

Done Topic
  Verify that the Standard Text size shall be 3/32"
  Verify that all text is UPPERCASE
  Verify Text layer as G-ANNO - color 7
  Verify all text is font "ROMANS" or "ROMAND" where a bold font is desired
  Verify that ARIAL font is used for the Sheet No. in the Title Block
  Verify that the Sheet number text is 3/8"
  Verify that no custom fonts exist on the DWG file
  Verify that text heights for Titles are 1/4" with a ROMAND font
  Verify that text heights for Matchlines are 3/16"
  Verify Text Styles Height is set to 0 and Width Factor of .80 and an Oblique Angle of 0
  Verify that TEXTFILL is set to "ON"

By creating a checklist from your standard, you are not only verifying that items are checked, but you also are checking them against the standard.

I'll have more on CAD QA and how the checklist is used next month.

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About the Authors

Mark Kiker

Mark Kiker has more than 25 years of hands-on experience with technology. He is fully versed in every area of management from deployment planning, installation, and configuration to training and strategic planning.  As an internationally known speaker and writer, he is a returning speaker at Autodesk University since 1996.Mark is currently serving as Director of IT for SIATech, a non-profit public charter high school focused on dropout recovery. He maintains two blog sites, www.caddmanager.com and www.bimmanager.com.

 

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